Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This Is Helping...

I can breathe...normally now. You forget how absolutely good it is to feel normal. I've been sort of sick for a couple of weeks now. Nothing major--just a head cold/sinus thingy. I totally thought I was feeling better too. Then I woke up this morning and could actually breathe. This is what better is. So. much. better.

I woke up to my alarm clock singing Toto's, "Rosanna." Is that a good thing? Is that a good start to the day, along with the being able to breathe bit? I'm not sure if one negates the other. I'm used to waking up to Christmas music. Not sure if I'm ready not to wake up to Christmas music. I probably am. And I should totally still be sleeping in too! I have four days of Christmas vacation left. I just enjoy the quiet of the morning, so very much. I've already read about seven blogs, had a cup of coffee, done the checkbook, and wrote on my Wall on Facebook. This could be a good day. It could be bad too.

This is the one year anniversary of my 11-yr-old dog, Calvin, passing away. This was a very bad day a year ago. I don't want to get too into it, cuz it's so sad to me, but his passing was sudden, so very sudden. It started the day before New Year's Eve. In the morning he was in the backyard barking at the kiddos playing in the front. He was chewing on his bone that Santa gave him. He was eating. He was sleeping on my bed. O took a picture of him.

This was Christmas Eve. He really wanted to be a lap dog.

This was Christmas Day...Santa brought him a bone.

O took this of Calvin the morning of the day he got sick. I'm so glad she did.

That evening he came up to me, and leaned on my leg, panting heavily, his little chest caving in with deep, laboring breaths. Just like that. We raced him to the emergency vet. There was nothing we could do (okay, this is getting hard now). He was hemorrhaging around his heart. We took him home that night and I slept on the couch next to him and prayed and prayed. And cried. I wasn't ready for this. The next morning, New Year's Eve, we had to make that horrible decision. I don't think I would make it again. It was the worst. I regret it, I regret it, I regret it. I know there was nothing we could do for him, but it really hurts to know we had to do that. I wasn't ready. I question if he was. I know deep down he was, but that question lingers. I'm sorry...if you could see me right now, I'm a puddle of sadness typing this out. I needed to though. I need to talk about it. Remember my boy.

Last night we were talking about him. Funny Calvin moments. One of our favorite stories was how he honked the horn. The girls love to tell this one. We were going for a ride somewhere and as you fellow dog owners know, the phrase, "Go for a ride," is a big dealie to dogs. They know it. He looooved going for a ride and would excitedly jump in the car and go nuts, yellow hair flying everywhere.

Well this one time, the girls and Calvin were getting situated in the car...putting on their seat belts, etc...hubbs and I were still in the house getting things together and we hear the horn honk, followed by little girl laughter. Then we hear A-girl yell in to us from the garage, "Calvin honked the horn!" and then right after that, he honked the horn, again, to reemphasize. Hilarious. He was a big boy--a good 94 pounds-- and had been in the driver's seat, circling in excitement. In his circling, his bottom kept honking the horn. Again, hilarious. A good memory. There's a bunch of those. He was family. Yes, we are those people that talk to our dogs. Include them in family functions and such. Fly them across country for Christmas vacation. Take them to dog therapists. He was with us all the time. And when he wasn't, his hair was.

The girls cried last night for him. My 5-yr-old wept for an hour, in my arms. I hate to see that, but a small part of me is glad for it, as young as she is, I want her to remember him.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to go see Marley & Me. Pretty sure I'm going to have lots of Kleenex in my pocket. Grief is a hard thing. I know some of you are reading and thinking, He's a dog...move on. But I've been through all kinds of grief. I know it well. I know it helps to talk about it. To have the good cry, over the blog entry. Writing has always been my therapy when it comes to grieving. It is my "moving on". And if you're still reading--thanks for helping me get through it.

To lighten the end up here...I've got a little song...cuz you know--I can't cry for long. Pretty soon, I have to laugh.


Rena said...


He's not "just a dog"; he was family. I know your pain sadly, all too well. Writing about it helps, but it also makes the tears flow. Great memories of your dog, Sunshine. I know you miss him terribly. I feel the same way about my cat, and I lost him in 1995. The pain lessens, but it never goes away. My heart is with you all. God bless and Happy New Year.

Dee from Downunder said...

You made me cry! Tears are dripping down my face. I am so gald you got that last photo. I have sooo many regrets, so many, over Bandit. His ending was just not fair to him at all, the great dog he was.

If I could go see Marley and Me with you, I would, we could flood the cinema together.

Sharon said...

Oh Sunshine I am so sorry about your dog. Your post had me tearing up. I had a wonderful dog once too, Leo. I'll never get over it. Hugs and hang in there. Happy New Year to you, your wonderful hubby and sweet girls.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I am definitely NOT thinking 'it's just a dog'. My heart is breaking for you! I'm so sorry for your loss.

Hillary said...

I'm joining the pack here of girlies who wept while we read your story...and I'm about to go again. That stuff is hard. What a hard decision to make.

You know you talk about our parallel lives? Well, I haven't had the 11-year-old dog thing to deal with (since I left home anyway) but we had a poodle puppy I'd bought for the girls. He was so gentle with Allison. Never the least bit snippy with her. But he snipped at Megan, got her in the face once. Luckily it was so minor, there was no to-do made from her dad (my big fear...he fights DIRTY). Anyway, I gave Megan some rules to follow in regards to how she dealt with him because he wasn't always snippy. There were triggers...and I told her how to avoid them, and she did really well. Then he started getting down-right aggressive. He was playing with the neighbor's beagle and saw me coming to catch him (he'd escaped without his leash). When he saw me coming he charged me. I made the mistake of backing off and every time I tried to get him he'd charge, sometimes getting my pant leg and fighting for all he was worth. For my sake I didn't care. I could take some time and deal with the behavior...get through it. (If only I'd seen the Dog Whisperer back then.) But I worried that he would do that with the girls and get ahold of something higher than their pant leg. I didn't want them to be hurt and I didn't want to fight World War 18 with their father, so I found a breeder who wanted a little white male to breed. So it was a good move for him. A loving family. No more life in the crate. Lots of exercise and every boy dog's dream...mating. I just tell you all this because LAST NIGHT my 8 year old sobbed and sobbed and sobbed because she missed Smoochie Poo. I thought the tears were never going to end.

Both our girlies crying over past pets...parallel lives....

I'm really sorry for your loss, though, Sunshine. That had to be so very hard. Just giving ours to a breeder was hard for us to do after having him just a couple years. I can't imagine making that decision.

Love you! (((((hugs)))))

Jennifer P. said...

I will never be able to hear Rosanna again without thinking of you or your dog. I'm so sorry. Animals really do have a way of getting into our hearts. Wishing you peace and joy in the new year.

Lynn - the piggy bank painter said...

Our dog also died suddenly, a little over a year ago. But he just laid down on the porch and was gone. He was just 5. He may be gone now, but we have wonderful memories of him.....although no video and not near enough pictures.

It's never just a dog....